Senator Warren Launching Project to Hold DeVos Accountable for Policies on Student Debt

Senator Elizabeth Warrren has created an online program called “DeVos Watch” to hold Betsy DeVos accountable for her oversight of student debt. The online platform will be hosted on Senator Warren’s website.

She wrote this opinion article for CNN:

The Trump administration is pondering whether to turn over responsibility for student debt collection to the Treasury Department. This has been debated for years. During the Clinton administration, Secretary Richard Riley turned the idea down,saying that “the move would be prohibitively expensive and that “since most borrowers default on their student loans because they are unable to make the payments, the IRS would be no more able to collect these payments than the Department of Education.” Mr. Riley added that perhaps large employers could make wage-withholding arrangements to streamline the process.”

Chester Finn, however, saw a benefit to making the Treasury the collection agency. He said,

Chester Finn, an assistant secretary of education during the Reagan administration, told a congressional committee that was considering the proposal that allowing the IRS to collect loans might encourage borrowers to repay them. “Perhaps the prospect of a stay in Leavenworth would finally reduce the multibillion-dollar loan-default problem,” he said.”

Warren’s decision to create “DeVos Watch” was applauded by Ashley Harrington of the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). She said,

“We applaud Senator Warren’s leadership for holding Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education accountable to students and parents. This new resource will be valued not only by education leaders and advocates, but additionally by the 44 million student loan borrowers who collectively share $1.4 trillion in debt.

“It is a matter of public record that higher education accountability at the federal level has suffered a series of setbacks since Secretary DeVos was confirmed earlier this year.

“From her senior-level appointees with close ties to the for-profit college industry, to the departmental regulatory reversals that favor for-profit colleges and loan servicers to the detriment of student borrowers, a growing concern has developed among consumer and civil rights advocates. We continue to call into question the quality, accessibility, and affordability of for-profit college institutions.

“Further, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the recently-released 2018 White House budget proposal would result in $26.8 billion in cuts that students and families will have to pay for over the next decade. Additionally, nine programs now operating within the Department would be eliminated at a cost of nearly $5 billion to students.

“No elected or appointed official should ever depart from or diminish the primary role of government: service to the American people. Instead, Secretary DeVos’ actions create a pattern of preference to private interests. Shedding further light on these practices is essential to protecting students and taxpayers.”

from sarah


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